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West Bengal: Toll count revised to 3, Oppn accuses govt of ‘hiding truth’

A controversy erupted Thursday, hours after the COVID-19 health department team, comprising doctors, announced that the number of coronavirus deaths was seven.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata | Published: April 4, 2020 5:22:13 am
West Bengal death count, coronavirus outbreak, kolkata news, west bengal news, indain express news Police stop commuters for inquiry in Kolkata, Friday. (PTI photo)

The opposition parties in West Bengal have slammed the state government accusing it of covering up the actual figures of those who died due to coronavirus.

A controversy erupted Thursday, hours after the COVID-19 health department team, comprising doctors, announced that the number of coronavirus deaths was seven. The government contradicted the figure, maintaining that the number was still three.

Addressing a press conference, State Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha said the cause of deaths of four people was yet to be ascertained as the deceased were admitted with conditions of co-morbidity.

The health department team had announced on Thursday, “The number of persons who had tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 24 hours is 16, and the total number stands at 53. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases that have been cured stands at three. The number of persons who died in the last 24 hours is four, and the total, stands at seven.”

A few hours later, Sinha clarified, “Of the 53 cases mentioned, three have already recovered and gone home. So, the total number of positive cases is 50. Among them, nine have tested negative in their second test. If we exclude them, then the number stands at 41. Among them, some were admitted with co-morbidity. Either they had heart problems or kidney problems. Four of these people died and the cause is yet to be established as COVID deaths. Three died of COVID-19. So, as of 6 pm, April 2, 2020, the total number of existing cases here are 34.”

Medinipur MP and BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said, “The chief minister is trying to hide the truth. This is unfortunate. She should not hide the truth. This will adversely affect the entire process to restrict the outbreak.” He added that during 2017 dengue outbreak too, Banerjee had tried to hide the death figure.

CPM state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra said, “The CM should not ascertain the cause of death. It is for doctors to certify the reason behind the deaths. Let them do that. It is absurd and unethical to claim that people died due to kidney ailments and other diseases even after being tested positive for coronavirus. If the CM is doing this, it is an illegal intervention. This should stop immediately.”

CPM leader Sujan Chakraborty said, “We are very much worried because this administration did this in 2017 also, during dengue outbreak. But, this time it could be very costly.”

Congress MP Pradip Bhattacharya also demanded that state government should reveal the actual figure of coronavirus positive patients instead of hiding those figures.

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